Thursday, July 15, 2021 by Ramon Tomey
A water treatment plant in Los Angeles, California was forced to discharge 17 million gallons of sewage into the ocean. The Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant unloaded the sewage as an “emergency measure” on July 11 after it was clogged with debris. The incident caused the indefinite closure of about four miles of beaches from El Segundo to the southern end of Playa del Rey.
The Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant has served as LA’s largest and oldest wastewater treatment plant, first starting operations in 1894. It had been expanded and improved numerous times during its operations spanning more than a century.
Hyperion Executive Plant Manager Timeyin Dafeta elaborated on the circumstances of the July 11 incident. In a statement released July 12, he explained that the plant became inundated with “overwhelming quantities of debris” on the afternoon of July 11. The plant was then forced to discharge 17 million gallons of sewage to prevent further discharge of more raw sewage.
The 17 million gallons of sewage unloaded by the Hyperion plant constituted six percent of its daily load. “The plant’s relief system was triggered and sewage flows were controlled through use of the plant’s one-mile outfall and discharge of untreated sewage into Santa Monica Bay,” Dafeta said.
The plant manager nevertheless assured that the issue was resolved by the morning of July 12. “At this time, all flow is being treated through [the plant’s] standard treatment processes,” Dafeta said. He added that officials are investigating the cause of the debris and repairing damaged equipment.
LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn later confirmed the incident in a tweet, adding that water samples are being tested for the meantime. The supervisor also announced that beaches from El Segundo to the Dockweiler RV Park in Playa del Rey were closed to swimming for the time being. “I’m getting more information about the scope of the problem,” she added.
Hahn subsequently tweeted: “This was a massive discharge of 17 million gallons of sewage into the ocean. I understand that the plant was able to prevent an even larger spill, but we are going to need answers about how and why this happened.” (Related: The West Coast is a literal toilet: 80% of coastal areas infected with toxic feces (biosludge), warns Dr. Drew.)
The July 2021 discharge of sewage at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant was similar to a 2018 incident, which occurred in Monterey County. Nearly five million gallons of sewage spilled in the January 2018 incident, which caused the closure of beaches along the central coast of California.
ABC 10 reported that time that the spill at the Monterey One Water Treatment Plant began on the night of Jan. 19. The spill was caused by a bar filter at the treatment plant that got clogged. The computer system overseeing the plant failed to detect the clogged filter; thus, it did not sound an alarm.
Monterey One Water General Manager Paul Sciuto told the news channel that an operator managed to stop the spill by the morning of Jan. 20. “A number of alarms did not get to the operator because of a computer communications failure, but we still don’t know what caused it,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Monterey County Health Department‘s Environmental Health Bureau said on its website that a number of beaches would be closed due to the spill. Samples were also taken to determine if the waters around Monterey County are safe.
The bureau added that in case it rains in the area, it would send an advisory for all people not to come into contact with ocean water at Monterey County beaches. This advisory would extend up to three days after a storm and even if lab results come back negative for contaminants, it continued.
Later in 2018, the Health Ranger Mike Adams tackled the issue of sewage spills in his movie Biosludged. The film, which documented how municipal waste processing centers introduced toxic sludge into the soil, was released in November of that year. (Related: BIOSLUDGED: Health Ranger warns EPA has unleashed a “devastating vector for bioterrorism against ourselves”.)
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